A Life With OCD

December 3, 2014 9:24 PM

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Saying it feels odd calling home as a patient in a mental institution is an understatement. Yet not long ago, that's what I found myself doing. I called my mom in Los Angeles from McLean Hospital in Boston to relay I safely checked in as a patient in its Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute, a residential facility where people whose lives are severely hampered by OCD come for help. The prospect of a psychiatric hospital was incredibly daunting, but after years of mental anguish, from compulsions to engage in odd behavior, I desperately wanted normalcy. I wanted relief from constant anxiety, overwhelmed and panic ridden by irrational fears. I wanted to curb the steadfast disintegration of my relationships with family, friends, and coworkers and end the burden I imposed on them for enduring my intensifying degeneration. I wanted to halt my growing isolation and avoiding a growing list of items, people, and places my OCD deemed "contaminated." I wanted rescue from a misery that seemed endless and not deteriorate like Howard Hughes despite doing all to ensure such an end.

I wanted all those things, but admit I also wanted care somewhere I could half pretend I was on a "rest vacation." McLean's grounds are beautiful. The landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (later a patient himself) and the residential buildings, original to McLean's founding in 1811, rese...

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